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Bipolar and relationships

EmmaR Member Posts: 2 Listener
edited October 2019 in Mental health and wellbeing
My significant other has a mild form of Bipolar, he has been honest with me since the beginning of our relationship about this, and over the last two years has had two episodes - once he was very down and wouldn't communicate with me barely at all for a period for two weeks, and the second time more recently went into a state of anger where he was irrational and unreasonable for a period of two days.

I had been worried for a while that he had not been taking his medication. Whenever I would bring it up with him he would deliberately change the topic, or say he was taking them - when really I knew he wasn't, and finally admitted a month or so ago he hadn't been taking them but didn't know how long he hadn't been using them (I'd say probably for around 5/6 months) and when I asked him why he hadn't taken them he said it was because he looses the ability to feel when he is taking them. When he has had any incidents I have found it difficult to manage my own emotions, and then I feel guilty about having these emotions, all the while I was attending him and making sure that he was ok (tried to calm him down, cheer him up etc)

Does anyone have any experience in being in a long term relationship with a partner who has bipolar or any tips for managing ones own emotions?


  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @EmmaR and a very warm welcome to the community! Thank you for taking the time to share this with us. I appreciate that this cannot be easy for yourself, as well as you partner.

    I was wondering if he has spoken to his doctor about the side effects of not being able to feel anything? There may be something else that would work more effectively for him.

    Here is some information from MIND about bipolar for friends and family that you may find helpful.

    I am also tagging @PSHEexpert who is our sex and relationship adviser, as well as @MickConnon who is our mental health adviser.

    I hope other members of the community will be able to offer their support and suggestions. :)

  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,193

    Scope community team

    Hi @EmmaR and a warm welcome to the community.
    I find it quite interesting that you mention your partner saying that he loses the ability to feel while on medication. This is something I've always struggled with as well.
    However, as Chloe said: it might be worth him speaking to his doctor about finding an alternative. There are pros and cons to all meds and some will work better than others and there might well be a better fit out there. Obviously you don't want to bounce around too much and as we're not medical experts we couldn't advocate either way, but I really think he should speak to someone about these concerns. There might be something that could be done.
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  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,682 Disability Gamechanger
    Welcome to the community @EmmaR
    There is some good advice above and I'm sure other members will be along soon. I would just like to add that it may be helpful for you to speak to someone. It can be tough caring for someone else and it is important that you look after yourself first so you can be there for your partner. 

    Do you have anyone you can talk to? A friend or family member? 

    Carers Uk say:

    Most couples have a lot on their plate. Whether it's paying the bills or juggling work and family, it can be hard to find time for each other. But when disability or illness happens to one of you then things can get a whole lot harder.

    Suddenly there are a million more things to do – organising care, sharing your home with careworkers, dealing with an army of medical professionals. It's important to acknowledge that caring for the person you love can put strain on your relationships.

    There is another side though. Many couples who have faced long term illness or disability will tell you how it has brought them closer and deepened their love in ways they never thought possible. But everyone is different and much might depend on the nature illness or disability you are dealing with.

    ANd there is more information about looking after someone here.

    There is also information for family and friends of someone with bipolar here from BipolarUK

    Senior online community officer
  • EmmaR
    EmmaR Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Thank you all for your kind words. Generally I feel fine, but can become quite anxious if I feel as if he is going to go down with his emotions. I had to tell my parents recently about his diagnosis because I needed someone to talk to, because trying to put on a brave face for him when he is not well, and hiding my own feelings can be tough. Whilst I have told my close friends it is not quite the same, their advice can be somewhat airy - if that makes sense. Both of my parents have had bouts of depression so I felt like I could open up with them more about advice
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @EmmaR, thank you for sharing this. I imagine it's very easy to take on his emotions. I'm really glad you were able to talk to your parents about this and I hope this allows you to talk about it when you need to. The community is always open and we're always a message away if you want to get stuff off your chest. 


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